Tourism in Pierce County

Tourism is an important industry in Pierce County. Visitors come from all over the country and even all over the world to visit our mountain, golf our courses, kayak and fish our shores, visit our museums and fairs, and sample our rhubarb pie, Almond Roca, craft beers and distilled spirits.

The Economic Development Department administers the funds generated by the tourism industry in the form of taxes and fees paid on overnight stays. Two advisory boards recommend how these funds should be invested—the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and the Tourism Promotion Area Commission.

New Tourism Funding Direction

As a result of the Pierce County Tourism Strategic planning process mentioned below, a new tourism funding direction has been launched. Pierce County’s tourism efforts are focused on generating incremental overnight stays through four key priorities. Projects submitted through the application process must support these four priorities:

  1. Drive Overnight Visitors — All funded programs must proactively generate overnight visitors
  2. Leverage Proven or Identified Demand Generators — All funded programs must incorporate and leverage the existing demand generators
  3. Focus on Specified Target Markets — All funded programs must include identified target markets and how the program will reach and convert them to overnight stays
  4. Balanced Funding Approach — 2019 Funding Allocations are:
Lodging Tax
Tourism Promotion Area
  • Event Marketing
  • Individual Leisure Marketing
  • Asset/Product Development
  • Event Development
  • Sports Development
  • Personnel & Administration
  • Event Marketing
  • Individual Leisure Marketing
  • Sports Marketing
  • Conventions & Meetings
  • Personnel & Administration

Tourism Strategic Plan

The boards wanted to be strategic about investing these funds and have completed a multi-step process to develop a strategic plan. The consulting firm of Jones, Lang, LaSalle (JLL) was commissioned to work with stakeholders to develop the plan; it is intended to guide funding decisions for the next several years. JLL held several workshops in the area to gather input and ideas about the opportunities and challenges for tourism marketing and the tourism strategic plan was completed in December 2017.

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Tourism Market Studies

From October 2015 through October 2016, Pierce County conducted two studies of visitors to our area. One was an "intercept survey" where people where asked in person to complete a questionnaire about their visit. The other was an analysis of Twitter users and comments related to Pierce county places and attractions. Download the final reports for the Intercept Survey and Twitter Analysis.